How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing School near Eagle River Alaska
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Eagle River AK. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.
What is a Plumber?
Almost everyone at one time or another has needed the services of a professional plumber. It may have been due to a leaky faucet or perhaps a hot water heater needed to be replaced. Plumbers provide a valuable service for the maintenance of both commercial and residential buildings. They are skilled tradesmen who are trained in the installation, repair and replacement of plumbing systems. These systems include pipes, plumbing fixtures, water based heating and cooling, sewage removal and sprinklers. A local Eagle River AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Eagle River AK plumbers begin their careers as an Apprentice. Apprenticeships are often completed in tandem with a formalized plumbing training program. Apprentices are typically paid but unlicensed and work under the guidance of a licensed plumber during working hours and attend plumber training classes at night. The second phase of their career begins once the apprenticeship and the training program have been completed.
- Journeyman Plumber. Once the apprenticeship has been completed as well as any required training program, application for Journeyman Plumber licensing can be made. Most often licensing is controlled by the state but can be managed more locally at the county or city level. A Journeyman license will only be issued after all requirements have been met, including a passing score on the licensing exam. Even though a Journeyman is more knowledgeable and experienced than an Apprentice, they generally must continue to be supervised, in this case by a Master Plumber.
- Master Plumber. After attaining the necessary work experience and completing any additional educational requirements, the Journeyman can apply to become a Master Plumber. Once again a passing score must be achieved on the licensing exam before a license will be issued. There are several benefits to advancing to the Master Plumber level, including earnings at the highest pay level, unsupervised working conditions, and the ability to start and own a business. Master Plumbers may also hire and supervise both Journeymen and Apprentices.
As a technical field requiring a high level of skill and competence, plumbing can take years of both training and experience to master. As a consequence, the best opportunity for success for a new Apprentice in Eagle River AK is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Eagle River AK to receive the necessary training to begin your career as a plumber. As far as the schools offering programs, you can enroll in a trade, technical or vocational school as well as a local community college. The programs offered will vary, but in general the shortest is the certificate program which will focus on the fundamentals and generally take about a year to complete. An Associate Degree will take 2 years to complete and will provide a more comprehensive education. There are some colleges that do offer a Bachelor Degree in plumbing technology, which are 4 year programs and much broader in nature. When choosing a school and program, naturally the completion time and the cost will be important factors. Tuition can vary significantly among the various schools and colleges and for some private schools can be quite expensive. State schools and community colleges typically offer their programs at the lower end of the tuition scale. However, when making your comparisons, keep in mind that many schools offer financial aid and even scholarships to help offset some of the financial burden. So be sure to find out what is available for each school and program before making your final decision.
Topics to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Eagle River AK region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Eagle River AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency is responsible for its licensing and then check to ensure that it’s up to date.
How Long has the School been in Business? Another means of determining the quality of a technical school is to find out how long it’s been in business. The longer a school has been in operation, the more likely that its programs are highly rated and regarded. Conversely, schools that are not well regarded or that provide low quality training generally don’t stand the test of time. However, keep in mind that even the best of Eagle River AK schools had to start from their first day of operation, so only use it as one of several qualifications for each school you are considering.
What are the School’s Completion and Placement Rates? Ask the plumbing training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Eagle River AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Eagle River AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eagle River AK plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Eagle River AK home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Eagle River AK and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Eagle River AK, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Find Out More About Eagle River Plumber Training Schools
Pick the Best Eagle River Plumbing Training School
Picking the best plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Eagle River AK.